A Muslim mum says she feels as though she has “betrayed her religion” after eating a vegetarian lasagna sauce that she claims “tasted like bacon”. 39-year-old Rianne Ward was shocked after purchasing the product from her local Aldi, and only became aware that there might be an issue when her son alerted her. After trying the sauce for herself, she became convinced that cross contamination had occurred.
Ward, who converted to Islam seven years ago, relayed her experience to the Derby Telegraph, stating, "I just sat down and my young son said 'Mummy, this smells like bacon'. When I ate it, it tasted just like bacon which made me feel sick. I was absolutely seething and went back down to the store. I just went in with the jar of sauce and made them smell it. I thought it must have been contaminated."
Having left the store dissatisfied with the supermarket’s response, Ward has since decided to take more drastic action. She has proceeded to lodge a formal complaint, and has kept the offending jar in her refrigerator in case it is required for evidence. She hopes to be compensated by Aldi, stating to reporters that "I'm absolutely furious. I've been a Muslim for years now and avoided bacon for so long. Then this happens. I felt like I'd betrayed my religion. Aldi have told me they are going to test the sauce to see if it has been contaminated. It's just not on."
Despite Ward’s assertions about the sauce’s ingredients, Aldi insist that there is an innocent explanation for the incident. A spokesperson for the company said, "We are sorry to hear Ms Ward is unhappy with this product but can reassure her that our lasagne sauce is completely meat free. The product is flavoured with smoked salt which gives the distinctive taste."
Though the allegations of meat contamination, accidental or otherwise, are as yet unproven, it certainly wouldn’t be the first time that a major food business has come under fire for bacon being where it shouldn’t. Earlier this year, McDonald’s were under the microscope after a customer posted a photo of a spicy veggie wrap containing several rashers of bacon. The resulting uproar saw the fast food franchise offer the victim a £15 voucher and their “sincere apologies.” Whether or not we can expect a similar outcome in Ward’s case will depend entirely on whether contamination can be proven.